Howedes 'concerned' by Schalke form

Schalke saw their UEFA Europa League hopes take a further dent with Friday's 2-0 defeat to Mainz, leaving Benedikt Howedes "concerned".

Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes admits he and his team-mates are increasingly concerned about their chances of securing a UEFA Europa League place.

Roberto Di Matteo's side are winless in six Bundesliga outings after Stefan Bell's brace secured a 2-0 victory for Mainz at the Coface Arena on Friday.

It leaves fifth-placed Schalke's continental aspirations somewhat at risk, with Werder Bremen and Mainz among those seeking to move into the top six, while Augsburg only trail them on goal difference.

"We're not able to play our natural game at the moment. We're now concerned about our Europa League chances more than ever before," Howedes told Schalke's official website.

"We lost the game through set-pieces. It's really annoying to concede two silly goals after making such a positive start.

"We should have gone in front and put at least one of those chances away, no ifs, ands or buts. We lacked direction after going 2-0 down; we were somewhat shocked.

"The other sides have an opportunity to close the gap. We have to pick up three points as soon as possible. I can understand the fans' frustrations. Supporting us hasn't been easy for them lately.

"They've been sensational and aren't getting a lot back from us at the moment."

Schalke have four games left, with home matches against Stuttgart and Paderborn, and trips to Cologne and Hamburg.